The History Of Archery

Bowmen have played a major role in warfare and hunting for thousands of years. Primitive bows were made of a single piece of wood, but composite recurve bows were being made from Greece to China as far back as the second millennium BC.

Recurve bows, those with the ends facing the ‘wrong way’ when unstrung, are more powerful inch for inch in length than one piece wooden bows, which made them more suitable to confined conditions such as on horseback, in a chariot or in wooded areas.

Bits of composite recurve bows, usually made from horn, have been discovered in many parts of the world. Early arrows were made from naturally straight twigs or pine needles with napped flint tips affixed. Wooden bows did not preserve so well and exemplars are rare.

It seems that archery was being developed in the early Mesolithic or late Paleolithic Age. Archery was particularly well developed in some Islamic countries and in Asia, where Zen Buddhist monks used archery as part of their meditation techniques.

In the early days of archery, there were mixed sentiments about archers. In those days, people fought hand to hand with swords and spears and some of the traditionalists thought that archers were cowards because they attacked from a distance out of direct danger. This point is made very obvious in ‘The Iliad’, Homer’s account to the siege of Troy.

There are or were many kinds of bows made to match different fighting or hunting conditions. Some varieties of bow are the; long bow, short bow, recurve bow, composite recurve bow, reflex bow, decurve bow, deflex bow and crossbow among others.

The longbow was extremely difficult to learn to use and the archer needed considerable upper-body strength. The bow was often six feet long with a heavy three foot long arrow. The draw weight for utmost power was about a hundred pounds and the function of the bow on a battleground was as long-range artillery.

The heavy arrows and vicious armour-piercing arrow head would rain down on the enemy from a hundred yards or more and penetrate shields and armour as if they did not exist. Shot horizontally, the three-foot arrow could pass through a couple of people.

In fact, the longbow was so essential to the triumph of Great Britain that a law was passed making it obligatory for men over a certain age to practice with their longbows every Sunday on the village green in order to develop the required skills and upper-body strength in case war came.

The arrows are made to go with the different kinds of bows and the different bows and their specific arrows are suited to different kinds of hunting - whether you are hunting men or animals.

There are essentially two styles of shooting: instinctive shooting, which is very demanding as the archer does not take his eyes off the target, but does not sight down the arrow; and sight shooting where the archer makes use of sights to align the arrow with its target. The majority of people find sight shooting simpler.

Owen Jones, the writer of this article writes on several subjects, but is presently concerned with archery recurve bows. If you would like to know more or for special deals, please go to our website at Kids Archery Set.

Archery As A Pastime And A Sport

We are all being encouraged to get out more frequently, so many people are looking for a reason for doing it. You could choose a spectator sport like football, but that is not really going to do your body much good, you should be looking for a participation sport.

If you are younger, then play soccer by all means, but if you are getting on a bit, you will most likely be looking for a sport that is not quite so strenuous. Men like to take aim and shoot things even if not kill them. Golf is an option, but I want to recommend that you give archery a try.

Archery has the advantage over shooting a gun because it takes some physical fitness. It is not just a question of pulling, sorry, squeezing a trigger. If you take up archery, you will probably want to develop some more upper-body strength, especially if the most strenuous work you have done for the last twenty years is pick up a pen.

Archery is an rounded sport in many ways, depending on how much you get into it. Most beginners will start out by going to an archery club and joining in for the day. People will lend them a bow and show them the safety aspects and the correct way to hold a bow and shoot an arrow. This should give you a good notion of which sort of bow you would like.

After a week or two, you may purchase your own bow and you may move from indoor target archery to outdoor target archery or even field archery, which is virtual hunting. From there, you will almost certainly meet people who take archery a step further. You will meet competition archers, bow hunters and people who assemble their own equipment.

You might find one of these aspects of archery enthralling. You may take up bow hunting or even bow fishing. This will lead you off at a tangent, because you will have to learn about the animals that you hunt. You will have to learn where they live and what their habits are. This involves research.

Or you can take up the archery equivalent of clay pigeon shooting, which is called field archery. In field archery, the archers walk around a course and replica animals or standard targets will become visible at diverse distances. This is enjoyable.

You will also meet people who like to make their own arrows and even their own bows. This is another interesting feature of archery. You can purchase the different components that go to make up an arrow and you can buy a kit to assemble a bow or you can start from scratch with an axe, a knife and a lathe. Again you will need to do a lot of research, in order to get your archery equipment just the way you want it.

This will take you down yet another tangent to archery, but it will improve your understanding of archery, augment your pleasure in the sport and, as they say, add another string to your bow.

Owen Jones, the author of this piece writes on several topics, but is currently involved with longbows for sale. If you would like to know more or for special offers, please go to our website at Kids Archery Set.

Archery Suppliers On Line

Do you have a leisure pursuit that you like to carry out out of doors or are you permanently glued to the seat in front of your computer? If you never get out, then that is a shame and you ought to take that common piece of guidance and get out more often .

And do what? - you may inquire. Yes, well that is your concern, is it not? But there are hundreds if not thousands of things that you can do in the open air and they are all healthier than sitting down in front of your computer no matter what you are doing with your PC.

I will confess that I spend too much time at my desk, although, in my defense, I will say that that is how I make my living. However, I do like to get out-of-doors sometimes too. I live in a country where foreigners, such as myself, are not allowed to own or carry anything that might be construed as a weapon. This includes penknives as well.

When I go out into the glorious countryside it is only to stroll with my wife and look for animals - mostly snakes and birds.. However, I have had a lifelong fascination for archery.

Something inside me wants to be able to strike a target from a long distance. I do not want to kill anything, but I am alright with people who do so long as it is for a good reason.

It would be fantastic to manufacture a bow and the arrows to accompany it. I am Welsh and have always wanted a Welsh longbow, although it takes a lot of strength to pull a longbow. The minimum draw weight in medieval days used to be 160 lbs for a war bow, for hunting it was 100 lbs, but these days it is more like 60 lbs.

However, this is still pretty heavy for modern man, who does not usually pick up anything weightier than a pint of beer.

There are some fantastic archery dealers, but if you do not live near one, you should go on line and either place an order from there or have a catalogue sent to you. Two good places to start are ‘Footed Shaft’ and ‘Three Rivers’ archery suppliers.

Both of these companies will send you your desired items through the post and they have every type of archery supplies that you may require. For instance, they have finished goods such as bows and arrows, but they also supply nocks, feathers, arrow shafts and points so that you can create your own arrows.

Do you want to make your own bow as well? No problem. You can either purchase a kit with all the bits and instructions or you can buy a book or DVD and buy the parts yourself.

These and other on line archery equipment dealers provide good value for money and have very comprehensive stocks of archery products. Their catalogues and web sites are easy to navigate and use as well.

Owen Jones, the writer of this piece writes on several topics, but is currently involved with archery recurve bows. If you would like to know more or for special offers, please go to our website at Kids Archery Set.

Bow Hunting For Town-Dwellers

Bow hunting or bowhunting is one of those sports that you either love or you hate - a bit like fox hunting in the United Kingdom. Town people hate it and anybody concerned with it and country people see it necessary to cull wild animals that could otherwise become a nuisance.

Despite its macho image, which was encouraged by the film the Deer Hunter, there are increasing quantities of women who go bowhunting. The big difference between hunting with a rifle and hunting with a bow is distance. A hunting rifle with telescopic sights can provide enough punch at 600 yards to take down a deer with a single shot almost wherever it is shot in the chest.

On the other hand, a hunter using a bow with a fifty pound draw weight will need to get to within about forty yards to be able to deliver the same sort of lethal punch, if the shot is accurate to the heart.

This means that if you severely injure an animal from 600 yards, it will probably be dead by the time you get there, clambering over fallen trees and rocks, but if you severely wound a deer from forty yards you see its pain.

This has a sobering effect on most bow hunters. The overwhelming majority of bow hunters do not want to see this and they do not want the animal to suffer either, so they wait for the perfect shot. If it is not there, they do not shoot.

A hunting bow needs to have a draw weight of at least fifty pounds to hunt large game and that used to mean quite a sturdy recurve or longbow, but the compound bow was developed in 1966.

A compound bow makes use of pulleys to assist with the draw, which allows less beefy people to achieve a draw weight of fifty pounds, which has opened up bowhunting to women and adolescents.

Large wild animals are dangerous and some will attack without warning if they feel in danger. This creates a danger zone around wild animals. Every sort of animal has a danger zone, for a lion, that could be pretty large and for a stag less so. This danger zone is an locale outside of which you are fairly safe.

If you are hunting with a rifle, you can remain outside that danger zone easily, but with a bow and arrow, well, you often have to go inside it. This enlarged risk provides a superior rush for bow hunters - a bigger thrill. Especially if they are hunting bears or mountain lions.

In contrast to the Deer Hunter, most bow hunters go on prearranged trips these days. The hunting trip is organized with the aid of a specialized firm which will provide guided excursions into areas known to have large numbers of the animals you want to hunt.

These expert guides know how to bait areas to lure your prey; they can advise on safety aspects and they carry a big gun in case a hunter is too stupid to take their advice. Regrettably, the gun is to use on the animal, not the idiot.

Owen Jones, the author of this piece writes on several subjects, but is presently concerned with compound hunting bows. If you would like to know more or for special offers, please go to our website at Kids Archery Set.

The Various Kinds Of Archery Bows

Archery is now a very popular sport and hobby all over the planet, but once, long ago, it was even more widespread. Every army had bowmen and men hunted with bows for food. Every country or every region invented its own particular design of bow and therefore, even nowadays, there are many different styles of archery bows. Modern technology has meant that new varieties of archery bows are still being invented.

Some bows were invented by people who rode horses a lot. These bows were shorter, other bows were intended for long range shooting and these bows were longer. I will list some of the main varieties of archery bows below with a short explanation of each

The traditional Welsh or English longbow was made from a single length of yew (or other wood) at least the size of the bowman, but up to about six feet six inches (two metres). It was ‘D’ shaped in profile with the flat, bark side, facing away from the string. The curved inner side followed the natural growth rings of the branch. The timber itself was seasoned for two years.

The draw weight of a longbow was between 160-180 pounds, which is hard to accomplish by modern man. In the days of the longbow, in the Middle Ages, men and boys were obliged by law to do target practice with longbows at the village butts every Sunday. The target range for a man was to be no less than 220 yards by order of king Henry VIII.

The longbow was used to devastating effect as long range (400 yards) artillery by the British army at Crecy in 1346 and Agincourt in 1415, raining deadly three ounce, three foot long arrows down on the enemy. As the armies drew closer the longbow could be used accurately to aim at individual targets. Not long after these great victories, which can be attributed to the archers and their longbows, bows were superseded as military weapons by guns.

Flat bows, like the longbow, can be over six feet long, are not recurved and can be crafted out of a single piece of wood. However, they are rectangular in outline, not ‘D’ shaped.

Short bows are comparable to longbows or flat bows in every detail except size and because they are shorter, they do not have the potential or the distance of the other bows. Sort bows are easy to carry and easier to use in cramped situations like woods or a forest, so they were used by and large for hunting small animals.

Recurve bows are more effective that any other bow inch for inch of length. The tips of a recurve point frontward when the bow is unstrung and look odd to the uninitiated. The recurve was very common from the Mediterranean to the Far East from about 2000 BC until 1700 AD. Nowadays, the recurve is the only type of bow permitted to be used in the Olympic Games.

Compound bows use very stiff materials in their assembly so have pulleys or cams to help bend or draw the bow. This mechanical aid to drawing the bow to the best distance means less physical force on behalf of the archer, which means that the archer con concentrate on the target more.

Crossbows have the limbs mounted crossways on a length of timber and the draw string is held by mechanical means until it is released with a trigger. The arrow, or bolt, is much shorter. They are well-nigh half-way houses to guns.

Owen Jones, the writer of this piece writes on several subjects, but is presently concerned with archery recurve bows. If you would like to know more or for special deals, please go to our website at Kids Archery Set.

Some Interesting Facts About Archery

People have been practicing archery for a minimum of four thousand years, but almost certainly for a lot longer than that. Parts of composite recurve bows have been found dating back to the second millennium BC, but the parts that were found were the non-wooden, composite parts, typically of horn.

The wooden sections ordinarily rotted away thousands of years previously, but a wooden longbow from the same period was found in Somerset. Most probably, people had been using all wooden, single piece bows long before they started constructing complex composite recurve bows.

The skill of archery has always enthralled mankind and, in spite of the fact that guns have made archery obsolete, it still fascinates people today, although nowadays archery is practically exclusively used for sporting purposes. It is a thriving sport and hobby and is the national sport of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

If you are interested in practising archery, you will first have to make your mind up which kind of bow you prefer. Among other varieties, there are the longbow, recurve bow, reflex and decurve bows, deflex bow, pyramid bow and crossbow.

To a certain degree, the arrows are not interchangeable either. For example, a longbow can cast a three foot, heavy-gauge arrow, whereas a crossbow shoots a six inch bolt. The bows also had different uses although there was a certain degree of common ground.

For example, longbows were the heavy, rapid-firing armaments of their day, being able to fling a heavy, armour-piercing arrow hundreds of yards; whereas a short recurve bow was ideal for assault from horseback. Crossbows took less ability to use but were slower than a bow.

There are different types of arrow as well. Historically, arrows were made of wood with a sharp metal tip, but these days arrows can be made of aluminium or carbon fibre. The arrowheads are distinctive for different applications as well. A simple brass tip is adequate for everyday shooting whereas a vicious, slashing broadhead is used for killing.

Most people who take archery seriously use carbon fibre arrows these days which is the standard arrow shaft in use at the Olympic games. The flights are usually of bird feathers and are used to steady the arrow in flight to minimize wobble. Plastic flights are also available as they are less susceptible to damage.

The Welsh (and English) longbow was perhaps the most powerful hand bow widely used. These longbows were typically six feet or more in length and made of one section of seasoned yew (or other woods). The draw weight of a Welsh longbow at the time of Henry VIII was between 160 -180 lbf and that would shoot a heavy three ounce arrow up to about 280 yards.

An account of the damage that one of these arrows could inflict was given by Gerald of Wales in the 12th century:

“… in the war against the Welsh, one of the men of arms was struck by an arrow shot at him by a Welshman. It went right through his thigh, high up, where it was protected inside and outside the leg by his iron cuirasses, and then through the skirt of his leather tunic; next it penetrated that part of the saddle which is called the alva or seat; and finally it lodged in his horse, driving so deep that it killed the animal”.

It took years of practice to draw and shoot one of these longbows bows accurately.

Owen Jones, the writer of this piece writes on several topics, but is currently involved with archery recurve bows. If you would like to know more or for special offers, please go to our website at Kids Archery Set.